April 20th, 2015
Lujunjin Liu (LL): Hi, dear, long time no see. I think almost 2 years, right?
Qinmin Liu (LQ): Yes, after I moved with my boyfriend, we have never met any more.
LL: I really miss you. I am a photographer and you are a dancer. I am still studying now, but I heard you already built your art organization in 2013, right?
LQ: Yes, after I graduated from our school, three month later, I built my art organization.
LL: Wow, very cool, could you tell me more about your art organization and yourself?
LQ: Absolutely, QINMIN ARTS is a new vision art organization founded by me in 2013. My usually tell people: “We are not dancers, we are translators.”
I am an interdisciplinary artist from Hunan, China. Choreography, performance art, and visual art are my outlets for explaining the unseen forces I sense. After fifteen years of dance training and performing, my body language became an irreplaceable element in my art creations. I have been exploring a new art theory titled “4A Concept” after I discovered my own unique body language. “4A Concept” describes my creative motivation and inspiration, which represents anywhere, anytime, anything and anyone.
Minimalism and surrealism unfold in my choreography and performances. Straightforward dance movements, improvisation, non-traditional theatrical spaces and unrestricted creative styles are my tools for describing our daily lives and explaining modern society’s unspeakable problems. I believe it is my responsibility to vocalize people’s voices and concerns through my works. For me, making art becomes a process of questioning social issues and answering them at the same time. Paying attention to public art reminds me of the connection between artist and audience. As an artist, I hope is to remove the line that separates us.
LL: Did you do any shows?
LQ: I did seven shows last years.
LL: What is your most favorite show in last year?
LQ: My favorite show in last year is Paper. I trod the streets of San Francisco for eight hours clad in little more than grains of rice. [The] performance intended to create community in a nearly scandalous bid for contact, [thinking about] the mutual fragility of paper and human life. [June 6-7 at KUNST-STOFF arts].
LL: Why was Paper your favorite show last year?
LQ: In Paper, I placed the audience in an atmosphere of paper. My dancers were asked to bring their body to paper—dancing and painting on it; destroying and ingesting it, in acts that reprise what I referred to as the “4A Concept”: anywhere, anytime, anything, and anyone.
LL: Two months ago, you had a show—Apple Watch Project. A lot of press reported your show. That was a very influential and interesting show.
LQ: I was intrigued by the news that happened in China—a high school kid sold his own kidney for purchasing an iPhone. I was trying to analyze this issue. I started to ask myself questions: (1) Why? (2)What cause this thing happened? (3) What’s the trigger point? (4) Did the action help his desire?
(5) Did this action release this young boy’s desire/curiosity? (6) Can we measure the space between the modern people’s desire and action? (7) What’s the balance between them?
All the questions pushed me to start this conversation… At the same time, those questions became my desire and inspiration. I am going to repeat this young boy’s behavior via my artwork. I use fifty kidneys to exchange for an 18k gold Apple Watch donation.
LL: Oh, my god, so in their mind this is what the equivalent is. Does a kidney equal an Apple Watch?
LQ: Our society is the biggest experiment in our lives. It is challenging us every second. However, our responses are appearing in emotion, performance, and behaviors with our body. We use our behaviors to react, follow, copy, balance, against, protest, or change what we have been involved in.
I am a performance artist, also a person who has been influenced by “the trend.” Apple is one the biggest trends in the world. It is an undeniable phenomenon. My interest is not protesting the technology, Apple or any luxury products. I care about individuals’ behaviors behind this phenomenon. I am curious [to know] how desire transforms to our behaviors in modern society.
LL: So for this project, you want to acquire fifty of Apple’s costliest watches for an exhibition that will combine both objects and performance. How will you do that？
LQ: I will exchange my body, the kidney sculpture, for the Apple Watch. It will combine different materials inside—plastic, rice, paper, electronic devices. Noting that the rice used will be taken from my previous social performance and dubbing it “the human desires kidney.”
LL: Then, in June, you will hold an exhibition and performance in San Francisco where the watch, kidney, and your body will be on display and able to interact with the audience. What is your plan now?
LQ: I could care less about the technology and the price. I care more about individuals’ behaviors, and I want to explore the relationship between desire and action. So far, I has collected thirty-one promises from prospective participants around the world—twenty from the United States, eight from China, and three from India and Korea. Others looking to participate have until June 1st to sign up through the online form. I hope Bill Gates can donate to us. He probably hates the Apple Watch more than anyone, since he can’t make one. But he is very supportive of art. He can certainly fulfill all our needs of fifty Apple Watches.
LL: Before Apple Watch Project, you strolled the streets of San Francisco covered in nothing but rice to protest society’s obsession with social media. You attempted to force people to make real connections with one another through your performance. Could you tell me more about that?
LQ: We have trapped ourselves in the iPhone and the computer. There is no longer any physical connection with people. Yes, these innovations have made our lives simpler and more convenient, but on the other side we have lost all connection with one another. I want people to notice that.
LL: Thanks for this interview. Amazing work. Thanks for your time. I will go to your Apple Watch project show in June.
LQ: Yeah, very nice to talk to you. See you soon.